'All Quiet on the Western Front', by Erich Maria Remarque explores a number of issues related to the horrors of war. Which issue is most significant to you?

Essay by ozzyHigh School, 10th grade March 2003

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In the novel 'All Quiet on the Western Front', by Erich Maria Remarque, an overall devastating picture of war is created in the eyes of the reader, through the use of a highly evocative and descriptive style. Being an anti war book, 'All Quiet on the Western Front' includes many themes that emphasize the horrors of war. Amongst those themes are comradeship, deception and propaganda and alienation from society, but the strongest theme of them all seems to be the theme of youth. This theme stands out and occurs constantly throughout the novel, and relates to all the other themes. This theme of youth can be broken down into the themes of lost innocence, ageing and lost generation.

Through Remarque's use of young men from different backgrounds, brought together in a war situation and slowly molded into the same type of despairing soldier, the reader can see the terrible effect of the war on all of their young lives.

This method, combined with horrifying imagery, evokes feelings of sympathy in the reader.

Early in the novel, Baumer- the novel's narrator and main character, notes how his elders had been facile with words prior to his enlistment. Specifically, teachers and parents had used words, passionately at times, to persuade him and other young men to enlist in the war effort. After relating the tale of a teacher who exhorted his students to enlist, Baumer states that "teachers always carry their feelings ready in their waistcoat pockets, and trot them out by the hour. But we didn't think of that then." (p. 15). This emphasizes the theme of lost innocence, as Baumer and his friends now know that they were fooled by this rhetorical trickery. Parents, too, were not averse to using words to shame their sons into enlisting as, "At...